Most people are familiar with Milos Forman’s powerful work Amadeus, which explored the friendship and eventual rivalry of Antonio Salieri and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Boatloads of awards, fantastic setpieces, amazing costumes and performances, and fame in the form of pop culture references are all associated with this movie. And while I love Amadeus, and love to pop it in now and then it is not my favorite biopic of a Classical musician.
That honor belongs to 1994’s Immortal Beloved.
It’s become de rigueur for award-winning biopics to explore the difficult, tumultuous lives and mental states of artists, and Immortal Beloved is one of the great examples of this. (Honestly, it’s more shocking to find a biopic about an artist who isn’t batshit crazy and emotionally abusive. For a fun experiment, watch the biopic Dark Star on H.R. Giger and have your mind blown by now normal and pleasant he is. He has a healthy long-term relationship! His friends hang out at his house all the time! This from the man who gave us the Birth Machine!) But I digress. We were speaking of Beethoven.
First, some background.
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